Rochester Riverside Primary School

Curriculum

The Rochester Riverside Church of England Curriculum Overview 

 

The Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School, vision is based upon two questions: 

  • Who are we? 
  • How therefore do we live? 

These questions are at the heart of our curriculum which seeks to develop our children’s sense of their own personal identity and that of the locality in which the school is situated. As a staff we aim to create our own imaginative, personalised and relevant learning opportunities, often spontaneously driven by the children, as befits the identity of our school.  Curiosity, awe and wonder underpin the early year’s curriculum, developing wisdom, knowledge and skills for future learning.  Outdoor learning, including Forest School, has become an embedded and evolving feature of our curriculum.  All staff and children also relish the opportunity to work in mixed age, mixed needs groups, off timetable, developing shared themes such as ‘Small Actions, Big Differences’. 

Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, which provides starting points to map progression in subjects across the school, setting out a coherent journey as children move through each year group. Our pupils are offered a wide range of experiences to extend their understanding of their own identity and the world in which they live. Skills, attitudes and values are developed to prepare the children for the next stage of learning, and enable them to be successful in the community.  

We believe effective learning takes place when there is considerable emphasis on active involvement, and so we provide frequent opportunities for children to explain and clarify their thinking. 

The importance of physical and emotional health is a key component of our curriculum and we believe in developing the children holistically and using both the indoor and the outdoor environment to engage children in learning. We have a dedicated Forest School area. The children take part in the Riverside Daily Mile and high-quality PE lessons are a valued part of our learning.   

Pupils develop a keen sense of autonomy in driving their own learning. Combine this with their experiences with the rich local history, our faith and ethos, the innovative digital opportunities; pupils will see how their current learning will contribute towards their future learning and their place in the wider world as valuable, responsible citizens.  

 

Early Years Curriculum (FS1 & 2)

 

Intent 

At Riverside, it is our passion to create awe and wonder within the Early Years and to give children a chance to live life in all its fullness. It is vital for us to enable children to be happy and excited learners who take risks and are not afraid to try new things. We will support children to develop their independence so they are able to take charge of their own learning and feel valued throughout their journey with us.  

As we are a Church of England school, we embrace Christian Values in every part of our school life. Our vision and associated values of Respect, Forgiveness, Trust, Compassion, Wisdom and Perseverance, help to shape our ethos and enable our children to flourish both in school and in the wider community. 

The Early Years practitioners at Riverside are enthusiastic and caring, reflective of their practice and respectful of their positive role as part of a wider team. They are risk takers who are always open to new ideas in order to create amazing environments of discovery for their pupils both inside and out.  

Implementation 

In the Early Years, children experience the seven areas of learning through a range of opportunities and experiences. We follow the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage document and this defines the curriculum that we teach.  

At Riverside, we recognise that it is vital for children to learn through play. We use the environment to ensure their needs are met through continuous and enhanced provision, and by following their interests. By spending quality time playing with the children, we develop positive relationships, which enable the children to flourish in a safe and nurturing environment. By embracing a Curiosity Approach inspired setting (both indoors and out), we promote a love of learning through natural resources, loose pieces and real-life items which help to develop beautiful, magical and wondrous play opportunities. By creating an enabling environment, we take advantage of naturally occurring teachable moments that happen during the children’s play and will support their next steps to progress them further with their learning there and then. As we follow the children’s interests and enhance the environment, we allow them to practise, repeat and rehearse newly learnt skills, which they are able to apply independently over time. 

In order for our children to be engaged, motivated and creative thinkers we use the Characteristics of Effective Learning (found in Development Matter in the EYFS document) to recognise how children learn. We value the process of how children learn, not just the end product they may create. We recognise that reading is a key support to all other learning and ensure engaging phonic sessions are being taught by using the whole school approach of Letters and Sounds with children’s reading books matching their phonic ability as well as reading aloud to the children, telling stories and rhymes. We encourage parents to read with their child on a daily basis to help promote an enjoyment of reading. We also provide further opportunities by pairing children up with their own reading buddy, visiting adults share stories and the lunchtime reading café all help to develop the skills and passion to become lifelong readers. 

Impact 

We record children’s wow moments throughout the day, which feeds into assessments of where the children are working. We encourage parents to share their child’s achievements from home by sending in ‘proud clouds’ which also feed into assessments. Every child has a personal learning story, which helps to build up an overall picture of the learning journey. All of these ways of assessing the children help inform progress and the next steps of learning. For the children in Foundation Stage 2 the Early Learning Goals support the end of year judgements. These assessments are shared with parents in the end of year school reports. Throughout the year moderations with both Local Authority, schools in the Multi Academy Trust and data meeting with the Senior Leadership Team ensures that all judgements on achievements are accurate.  

The progression from Early Years Goals to National Curriculum is understood and complements the ‘Pilgrim Progress’ approach of ‘Review, Teach, Practice (Experience) and Apply. It provides strong foundations for the smooth transition between curriculums, which ensures confidence in tracking accurate progress.  

 

Key Stage 1 and 2 

 

Intent 

Children are taught to ‘explore’ the curriculum and beyond, in context of the world they live in. 

Staff will make every effort to enrich the educational experiences by fostering the naturally enquiring minds of our pupils; ensuring that they flourish in exciting and safe environments. 

As a Church of England school, we aim to bring together the best people that are dedicated to enabling human flourishing. We support our children to demonstrate core values as part of everyday life and provide opportunities to explore their understanding of how Jesus’ teachings relate to the world, they live in. RE is a rich and important part of our Curriculum in which all religions are valued. Jesus said, “I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10) This is the precept upon which our MAT and in its turn, Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School is founded. 

Our curriculum is planned to be skill-based, adventurous, enjoyable and relevant for both pupils and staff. The school day is planned to ensure children gain maximum benefit through an exciting curriculum and other extra-curricular activities. Our staff have a wealth of experience and knowledge and lessons are alive with challenge and involvement for all. Children demonstrate an interest and a keen approach to learning and this is encouraged through the carefully designed topic approaches. Through a School Council, pupils have a voice that is heard. Outdoor learning and ‘Forest School’ is a valued part of every child’s experience; expertise within staff ensures that gross and fine motor skills, social skills and cross-curricular opportunities are fully grasped. 

Implementation 

The National Curriculum forms the backbone of our curriculum and the self-developed ‘Pilgrim Progress’ assessment procedures provide support for staff and pupils to monitor their progress against the gaining of key skills and knowledge. The foundation stones to a successful education lie in the acquisition of basic skills. Without these tools for learning, children will not make the educational progress that is expected of them. We place great emphasis on learning skills. Children are challenged to learn number bonds and times tables, are encouraged to apply these skills in a safe and supportive forum. Staff model the love of reading through shared experiences and reading cafes. The Pilgrim School holds the Quality Mark for IT and shares these skills with Riverside, which is well resourced; children are taught about safety and skills that will prepare them for the technological world we live in. Our aim is that when pupils leave Year Six, they are highly numerate, literate and IT safe, with a real joy for learning. Science is a particularly rich experience with the outdoor environment playing an important part. 

Well-being is at the heart of our school and we invest in the highest levels of pastoral care as a way of nurturing children to access basic skills by ensuring that everyone is best equipped for their days learning. Staff provide different learning styles to allow all pupils to access as many opportunities as possible. We value the Arts for their intrinsic quality, promoting self-esteem, leadership opportunities and providing a creative stimulus. Aside from regular PE/dance, art, technology and music lessons, many art forms, including drama are used in other areas - facilitated by our adventurous curriculum. In addition to this, we organise a number of themed weeks throughout the year, which enable children to work alongside professional artists or organisations. ‘Explorers Week, Enterprise Week, ITrent Art competitions and the Riverside Mile for example, encourage inclusiveness, collaboration and cultural diversity in every curriculum area.  

We are extremely fortunate that so many staff value the contribution made by other activities beyond the classroom. As a result, a range of extra-curricular clubs and activities are offered at lunchtimes and after school all year round. These range from sports clubs, such as netball, dance, table tennis and football, to drama, ICT and craft-based clubs. PE is strength with fitness being a focus led by the inspiring involvement with Super Skills sport coaching. In addition, inter school competitions allow pupils to access each school’s uniquely different sites; a range of educational experiences also support our school curriculum. Visits are arranged for all classes and include, amongst others, trips to the theatre, local historical places and museums, themed days for Romans, and Stone Age and a residential school journey in Year Six. Music is a valued and celebrated part of our curriculum from keyboard lessons to singing. A variety of peripatetic options are also available. The school promotes the enjoyment of performance and celebration of the arts. 

Impact 

The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of Key Stage 2, the vast majority of pupils have achieved the ‘Expected’ standards, that is, they remember their learning and are fluent in it. Some pupils are assessed as having a ‘Greater Depth’ of understanding. We use our self-designed ‘Pilgrim Progress’ assessment procedures to carefully ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of each year group’s curriculum. 

Pupils have an enjoyment of learning and parents and extended families communicate their appreciation of the many opportunities provided to share their children’s learning and curriculum. Secondary school provisions comment on the quality of preparation of ‘Riverside’ pupils for their next stage of learning.  

Subject Curriculum Statements 

English 

(School shared lead) 

 

In our school, with the children, we develop an excitement for English through building a knowledge and skills-based toolkit which, together, we personalise through creative application. The expectations for every year group are underpinned using the national curriculum for each of the elements of English. We use our review, teach, practise and apply process to establish the next steps for progress in each child’s learning journey. We invest time and prioritise English learning in order that it may be applied to enhance every other aspect of the curriculum and in daily life. 

Maths 

We teach the Mathematics National Curriculum, which ensures that the children are fluent in the fundamentals and have conceptual understanding so that they can reason mathematically. The intent of our curriculum is to allow children to flourish with their knowledge and understanding in mathematics throughout their school life, enriching their passion and enthusiasm for this subject. We believe giving all children a secure knowledge base will enable fluency across maths, science and technology, allowing them to be financially equipped for everyday life. 

Science 

In science, we teach the National Curriculum, exploring Chemistry, Biology and Physics to foster children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. We teach essential aspects of the knowledge, skills, methods, processes and uses of science. We are inspired by famous scientists and believe all children are scientists. We encourage children to use their science skills to think about how to improve our environment and the world around us for all of our futures. 

RE 

At Riverside, pupils and their families can expect a high-quality religious education (RE) curriculum that is rich and varied, enabling learners to acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of a range of faiths and worldviews. As a church school, the teaching of Christianity is at the heart of our RE curriculum. Through the Understanding Christianity resource, the use of an enquiry approach engages with significant theological concepts and the pupil’s own understanding of the world as part of their wider religious literacy. Using the Medway Agreed Syllabus, we learn about other religions and worldviews, fostering respect for them. Links with our Christian values and vision, and support for pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development is intrinsic to our RE curriculum and have a significant impact on learners. We provide a wide range of opportunities for learners to understand and to make links between the beliefs, practices and value systems of the range of faiths and worldviews studied. 

RE has a high profile within our school curriculum and is comparable with other core curriculum areas. Quality teaching in RE helps generate respect for different views and interpretations where real dialogue takes place. Learners develop and use a wide range of higher-level skills such as enquiry, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and reflection to deepen their understanding of the impact of religion and worldviews as lived by believers. Key cross-curricular skills such as reading, writing, observation, and discussion are practised. 

Computing 

(MAT shared lead) 

At Riverside, we strongly believe that the use of ICT and the development of computing skills are crucial for our pupils’ education and as a part of their everyday life skills. In order to equip our children for the modern world, we will use technology to develop their critical thinking, collaborative skills, communication and creativity not just in our computing lessons, but also throughout the curriculum. To ensure that our pupils receive the highest level of Computing and ICT education, we are teaching the latest National Curriculum guidelines. 

Geography 

At Riverside, we enable children to engage in geography through enquiry and practical opportunities with the expectations for each year group underpinned by teaching the National Curriculum.  We make use of our ‘review, teach, practise and apply’ process, which enables us to establish next steps for each child ensuring they are able to make progress. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions and to develop a love for the subject and an understanding of their part in the world.  

Geography contributes to the cultural, social, spiritual and moral life of children as they acquire knowledge of a range of different cultures and traditions, and learn tolerance and understanding of other people and environments.  

The location of our school makes learning geography particularly interesting.  We are positioned adjacent to the River Medway, which leads into the Thames Estuary.  We can see (and hear!) the building of the new development in which we are situated. Being part of a regeneration project is a great starting point for many of our geography topics! 

History 

At Riverside, we aim to stimulate and develop our children’s interests and natural curiosity. By using topics, which engage our children, they respect their historical heritage and develop a sense of cultural understanding. Learning about significant events and people in History enables the children to develop an enquiring and questioning mind. Through teaching the National Curriculum we develop a sense of identity and place, give children the opportunity to reflect on their school, community and local area and encourage all our children to be historians who see how the past has influenced their lives. 

Being situated in the heart of Historic Rochester, overlooked by the imposing Norman Castle and Cathedral, with a Roman wall running through the school site itself means that pupils have a large variety of rich primary evidence to explore and become immersed in. 

PE 

Through the PE curriculum, we ensure that all children are physically active for sustained periods. We implement the National Curriculum through both knowledge and skill-based activities and promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Children are given the opportunity to engage in competitive sports, activities both inter, and intra schools, which builds character and helps to embed our Christian Values. 

MFL 

Learning a foreign language is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education fosters children's curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Children express their ideas and thoughts in another language, understand, and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. Children have weekly lessons throughout Key Stage 2. 

Music 

At Riverside, we will provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop skills and appreciate a wide variety of musical forms. We will embrace the National Curriculum purpose of study, which states: “Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity." 

Music is an important part of life at the school and singing is at the heart of our daily worship.  

Music lessons are to be timetabled for each class on a fortnightly basis. This involves both whole class and small group activities. In the foundation stage and KS1, individual class teachers teach music whereas in KS2 the subject leader delivers the lessons. We use the Music Express scheme of work for music as the basis for our curriculum planning.  

In Year 3, children will have the opportunity to learn keyboard for a year as part of the Wider Opportunities provided by Medway Music Association and funded by Art Council England. 

Visiting peripatetic teachers will teach keyboard, piano and guitar. 

Links with the local grammar schools (Fort Pitt Grammar School and Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School) provide children with the opportunity to listen to live instrumental music. 

Children are given the opportunities to show their musical progress, performing to parents and guests at musical events such as our annual Christmas Concert, Grandparents’ Day and end of year musical performance. 

Art and Design 

We follow the National Curriculum and its organisation for Art and Design. 

Art is seen as a means of communication through a variety of skills that are taught and developed in their own right. Pupils are encouraged to explore a large range of mediums to enable them to make informed choices for developing their ideas. They are taught how to use tools and techniques, which increase their range of choices for exploring and developing their own creative ideas. Pupils are given opportunities to evaluate art and design for its visual effect, texture, colour and its effect on the environment. Pupils’ work is celebrated in a school art gallery as well as in their classrooms and sketchbooks (something that acts as a portfolio of developing skills and follows them from year to year). Through their life at Rochester Riverside, they are given opportunities to visit art galleries, museums and places of worship to see works of known artists first-hand and also work alongside visiting artists.